From a two-decade long ‘war on terror’ to now providing salaries to the terrorists—you cannot make this up…
The United Nations is proposing to pay nearly $6 million for protection in Afghanistan to Taliban-run Interior Ministry personnel, whose chief is under U.N. and U.S. sanctions and wanted by the FBI, according to a U.N. document and a source familiar with the matter.
The proposal would see Taliban militants receive their monthly wages, and even a food allowance, to provide security protection to sensitive international facilities. It springs from UN concern that its own buildings in Kabul and elsewhere could lack protection amid the continuing economic collapse of the country in the wake of the chaotic US exit in August.
The Interior Ministry, under the Taliban, is responsible for guarding diplomatic and other international institutions and facilities in the country. But UN officials are alarmed at the prospect that the Taliban may soon not be able to pay its own guards.
Taliban leaders have for months urged the US and international community to unfreeze Afghan funds held in Western banks. For example, Kabul is demanding the US release some $10 billion in seized assets, while touting “reforms” made including greater rights and education opportunities for women, and respect for ethno-religious minorities.
The solution to the lack of security crisis will apparently now involve “Taliban guards for hire” employed by the UN, according to a document seen by Reuters:
“The United Nations has a duty as an employer to reinforce and, where necessary, supplement the capacity of host states in circumstances where U.N. personnel work in areas of insecurity,” deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq wrote in an email in response to Reuters’ questions about the proposed payments. He did not dispute the contents of the document.
But then this raises the question (and deeply awkward, ironic situation) of the proposed payments constituting a violation of existing US and UN sanctions.
Of course, the UN is claiming it would not, while without doubt now trying to find legal loopholes around the situation, such as ensuring the funds do not flow through official Taliban leadership and departments, but are payed out directly to the guards stationed at UN facilities.
Concerning this emerging impasse, the report cites the following:
The U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) budget is “currently under review,” but the mission “maintains full compliance with all U.N. sanctions regimes,” Haq said.
He did not respond to a question about whether the proposed payments would breach U.S. sanctions.
A U.S. Treasury Department official said the Taliban and the Haqqani network remain designated under the U.S. government’s counterterrorism sanctions program and that unauthorized people supporting them “risk exposure to U.S. sanctions.”
But perhaps UN officials will simply tell Washington some form of “you broke it, and you left without fixing it”… meaning there are now no ‘good options’ for dealing with the remaining security vacuum.